Over the years I have trained in some rather unusual places but this week I was in the most remote place imaginable—Kiritimati Island—for a visit to assess the airport for potential investments by the World Bank. Where you say? Well, it is in the middle of the Pacific Ocean just over half way from Sydney to San Francisco, about 230 km north of the equator. It’s about a 3 h flight south of Hawa’ii, and about 4.5 h from Fiji.
Like Tarawa, it is quite flat, very wind swept with a huge lagoon. Unlike Tarawa, there are hardly any people: it has 70% of Kiribati’s land but only 6% of its people. Also called ‘Christmas Island’, it was discovered by Captain Cook on Christmas Eve. The capital is London (seriously) and there is also a Paris and Washington. The place is most famous as the headquarters of the British nuclear testing program. It is sobering to see a blue print of the airport with a ‘decontamination’ area.
It is not the easiest place to get to. You essentially have two options: spend 9 hours or 7 days. The flight leaves Fiji at 01:00 on Tuesday, arriving about 06:30. At 07:30 it goes on to Hawa’ii, returning at 15:00 for its 16:00 flight to Fiji.
For that reason I only got in a miserably short run—I did it after lunch and didn’t want to risk missing the flight! It was very hot, but thanks to the constant strong winds, didn’t feel anywhere near as bad as Tarawa. I’m looking forward to returning and getting some longer runs in. Lots of places to explore it seems …